Each year, more than 350 people regularly attend the Open University, some of whom are Shepherd’s Center volunteers. For many people, however, there seems to be a “disconnect” between the Open University on the one hand, and the personal services aspect of The Shepherd’s Center on the other. What, exactly, is the relationship between the two?
The mission of The Shepherd’s Center is to enrich the lives of older people and enable them to continue to live independent, meaningful lives. The Center accomplishes this mission in several focused ways. The first is to ensure that seniors in the community have adequate access to health care, to food, to minor but critical home repairs and to basic human interaction like friendly callers and visitors. Meeting these needs helps enable older people to remain independent as long as possible.
The second focus is to provide life-long learning opportunities and to minimize isolation. The Open University offers countless ways to challenge and inspire the mind in a setting where friendship and fellowship happen naturally.
While it may appear that the Shepherd’s Center is the Open University, and that the Center “also” offers volunteer help to seniors in the community; the truth is that there is just one single mission that takes several forms.
At the heart of every aspect of The Shepherd’s Center is volunteerism. This is the third focus of the Center – to provide the opportunity for older adults to find genuine meaning and purpose in their lives through making a difference in the lives of others. Whether you become actively engaged as a teacher, a driver, a committee member, or in some other capacity, it is your involvement, your work, that makes The Shepherd’s Center what it is. In fact, without volunteers, there simply is no Shepherd’s Center.
For more than 25 years, The Shepherd’s Center has been a source of joy and compassionate help for seniors in the Richmond area. Please help to spread the word about the importance of this mission. By doing so, you too become an active part of this wonderful organization.